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Three Footballers Who Went From Riches To Rags

October 02, 2015

- Grant Whittington

Back in 2012, the average wage of a Premier League footballer was £30,000. While this may seem a little low when you consider that the likes of Wayne Rooney and Yaya Toure are paid £300,000 and £250,000 per week respectively, this is still a huge amount of money that quickly accumulates over time. Even if we accept that a career in professional football may be relatively fleeting, this type of remuneration should enable players to forge a tidy nest egg for their future.

Despite this, external circumstances and frailties of human nature mean that not every player can manage such wealth effectively. With this in mind, here are three unfortunate players who earned a fortune only to lose it all over time: –

Lee Hendrie

Considered to be one of the finest home-grown players of a generation, Aston Villa’s Lee Hendrie seemed set for a stellar career when he made his England debut as a substitute in 1998. After a stunning late cameo, Hendrie seemed to confirm his early potential and was being heralded as a future star of the game. Despite earning £50,000 a week at the peak of his career, however, Hendrie spent recklessly and was eventually declared bankrupt in 2012 after years of amassing debt.

Keith Gillespie

One of Sir Alex Ferguson’s famed academy graduates during the early 1990’s, Gillespie showcased huge promise as a teenager before being sold to Newcastle as part of the Andy Cole transfer. He was at the forefront of Kevin Keegan’s Magpies revolution, however, with his direct and dazzling wing play creating goals galore for Les Ferdinand and Faustino Asprilla. He struggled with an addictive personality however, succumbing to addiction during his time as a pro. At the end of his career, it was claimed that he had lost the majority of the £10 million he had accumulated as a footballer.

Celestine Babayaro

Chelsea fans will remember the marauding Nigerian full-back Celestine Babayaro, who starred in the clubs revolution in the 1990’s. His career went downhill after a £2.5 million move to Newcastle however, as the £45,000 weekly wage he had earned at the Blues was diminished and debts quickly began to spiral. He has been a subject of multiple court orders in the UK since his release from the Magpies in 2007, and his fortunes show no sign of turning around any time soon.

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